Employee performance is important in influencing the effectiveness of organizational strategy and goals. The HRM function manages employee performance by outlining organizational policies and practices that should guide workplace conduct. The HRM also enforces the recommended policies and practices in various ways, including disciplinary measures. The process can lead to various outcomes including the need for action against employees and grievances against the employer. A performance management system should play a strategic role in creating an effective workforce to attain organizational goals.
The HRM uses punitive or non-punitive disciplinary measures. The common punitive disciplinary measures at the workplace include unpaid leave, demotion, and dismissal. The intention of these measures is to compel the employee to change behavior by creating undesired consequences for bad conduct. Punitive disciplinary systems are ineffective in changing behavior (Campbell, Fleming & Grote, 1985). Some disciplinary issues at the workplace are caused by behavioral problems among workers. For instance, lack of interpersonal skills can lead to misunderstandings and cases of indiscipline. An effective disciplinary system should aim at addressing the behavioral issues responsible for indiscipline.
The non-punitive disciplinary measures include an oral warning and a written warning. The intention is to have the employee’s attention to their misconduct as well as identify chances of helping the employee to change behavior. The system puts into consideration that the need for punishment is not to make the employee suffer or feel embarrassed, but to correct a behavioral issue. Non-punitive discipline system helps in building employee engagement and productivity. Employee commitment to their role is important for quality and productivity. The non-punitive system has proven effective in reducing cases of absenteeism, which increases the total working hours per employee. On the contrary, punitive disciplinary measures create a tense workplace where there are poor relations between the management and the employee. It is difficult for an employee who has been subjected to punishment to have good feelings towards the workplace, the management and their role (Campbell, Fleming & Grote, 1985). As a result, the employee becomes disengaged from the workplace and the productivity starts to decline.
Employees may have various grievances about their workplace or against the management, such as grievances against the use of punitive disciplinary measures. In union grievance procedure the trade union representing the employee is invited to participate in reviewing the problem and making a determination. In non-union grievance procedure, the employee represents himself or herself through the process. The union grievance procedure is usually formal and has specific processes that must be followed in resolving the grievance. There are also conditions such as the time frame in which the aggrieved employee must notify the employer about the issue and the level of authorities that should be involved in the process. The non-union procedures of conflict resolution may vary from formal to informal. In some workplaces, there are no clear processes that the employee should use to register their concerns with the management. The employee may directly approach their immediate supervisor and record their grievances. Additionally, the process of resolution can take various forms based on the negotiations taking place.
Despite the differences, both grievance procedures use a form of hierarchy in resolving issues. The employee first reports to the immediate supervisor, and if the issue is not resolved, it is referred to the next level of management and so on. The different levels of management in organizations are similar to the levels of representation in trade unions, where the matter is brought to the attention of the higher authorities within a union as it becomes difficult to resolve (SHRM, 2012). A third party may also be involved in resolving grievances in union and non-union procedures. Overall, the major difference is that the non-union procedure creates room for informal engagements between the employer and the employee when resolving grievances.